Motivation: Genetic material is transferred in a non-reproductive manner across species more frequently than commonly thought, particularly in the bacteria kingdom. On one hand, extant genomes are thus more properly considered as a fusion product of both reproductive and non-reproductive genetic transfers. This has motivated researchers to adopt phylogenetic networks to study genome evolution. On the other hand, a gene’s evolution is usually tree-like and has been studied for over half a century. Accordingly, the relationships between phylogenetic trees and networks are the basis for the reconstruction and verification of phylogenetic networks. One important problem in verifying a network model is determining whether or not certain existing phylogenetic trees are displayed in a phylogenetic network. This problem is formally called the tree containment problem. It is NP-complete even for binary phylogenetic networks.
Results: We design an exponential time but efficient method for determining whether or not a phylogenetic tree is displayed in an arbitrary phylogenetic network. It is developed on the basis of the so-called reticulation-visible property of phylogenetic networks.
Availability and Implementation: A C-program is available for download on http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/∼matzlx/tcp_package.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.